CD, onezero, 2009
There are a million different approaches to create electronic music, but surely one of the most fun and exciting ways must be through circuit-bending, a process which involves taking apart existing keyboards or musical toys and alter or rewire the built-in electronics. The art and joy of deconstruction and reconstruction. The results of these modifications can vary from quirky versions of the original sounds to absolute noise.
The Bureau of Nonstandards consist of two fellows from Pittsburgh and they have taken an array of modified Furbies, Casio keyboards and other children’s toys and taken them on the road. All of the bleeps, noises and mangled voices get processed live on a laptop to create an enchanting ambience that combines the familiar with the surreal. Their debut album contains sixteen outtakes of live performances that range from short fragments of noisy toy vocals to longer passages focusing more on glitchy atmospheres. Since all of the tracks were made with the same kind of tools the album has a pleasant flow that brings back some melancholic memories of my childhood days.
There is a lo-fi vibe that runs throughout the whole album. The Bureau of Nonstandards decided to present the performances without any further processing and even though this decision brings a nice charm to the the album it might scare off a lot of listeners who are used to more polished productions. Those who take the album for what it is will certainly enjoy the sound adventures and realize that the Bureau of Nonstandards’s approach to music is quite nonstandard indeed.
— Tijs Ham